This not a true fir, hence the hyphen in the common name. It is an impressive tree, much admired by the famed Scottish botanist and explorer, David Douglas, who described it as "one of the most striking and truly graceful objects of Nature". It is second only to Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) in height. Younger trees have a compact, conical crown, but mature trees can develop broad, spreading crowns. Like true firs, the needles are short. blunt-tipped, not in bundles, and radiating in all directions from the branches. The underside of each needle has 2 white bands. The cones are particularly distinctive, pendulous with long-exserted bracts.